Tender Board says contracts awarded to responsive bidder with lowest price

See below the full statement from the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) issued by the Ministry of Finance:

The National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) wishes to explain again that it follows the systems, processes and procedures enshrined in the Procurement Act and its regulations in the award of contracts. This includes inter alias the following:

  • Public advertisement of all tenders, public opening of bids (in fact NPTAB is singular in that it opens and reads all bids in full view of bidders and the public at large both in-person and virtually), and the evaluation of bids by a three-person independent evaluation team. The bidding documents contain the criteria to be used for the assessment of the winning bidder (which does not prescribe any role for the gender, race, religion, or political persuasion of the bidder). The evaluators are required to apply the evaluation criteria, and that alone, as the basis for its recommendation to the Board, and the Board’s award is subject to a no-objection of Cabinet, if the value of the award is above G$15 million.
  • In any bid, there are administrative, technical, and financial criteria to be followed which are assessed by the Evaluation Committee in making its recommendation to NPTAB. These criteria are all fully enshrined in the specific tender document applicable to the specific procurement, whether for goods, works or services.
  • For clarity, administrative compliance includes provision of a valid business registration, valid Guyana Revenue Authority and National Insurance Scheme compliances, applicable bid security, signed bid form by the authorized representative of the firm, and any other document required by the bid document. Non-compliance with any of these would result in the bid not being considered for further evaluation.
  • Arithmetic check is then conducted to correct any discrepancy. This may result in the actual bid price being different from what was called at the opening of the bid.
  • A key aspect of the evaluation process entails assessing technical and financial capacity. This includes that the bidder demonstrates specific construction experience and evidence of financial capacity.
  • Additionally, bidders must meet the stated equipment and human resources requirements in the bid document.
  • Finally, bidders who have three (3) or more outstanding contracts from any public sector agency, will not be considered for award. An outstanding contract is one where more than 20% of the value of the contract is not completed as per original contract deadline for final completion.

Specifically, with regards to the construction of the Belle Vue Pump Station project, twenty-six (26) companies tendered for that project. Thirteen (13) bids were deemed non-responsive and were therefore not considered for award. Of the thirteen (13) substantially responsive and compliant bids, the lowest priced responsive bid was awarded the Meeten-Meer Zorg Pump Station, while the second lowest responsive bid was awarded the Jimbo /Grove Pump Station. Tepui was the third lowest priced responsive bidder and was awarded the Belle Vue Pump Station.

Clearly, therefore, merely looking at the bid price announced at the opening of the bid cannot be used to adjudge the winning bidder and, worst yet, be used to impugn the integrity of the evaluation process and subsequent award of the contract.

As such, the views expressed by Mr. Mahipaul in his recent letter to the Kaieteur news and the views expressed by the subsequent Editorial of the said Kaieteur News are without merit and not based on any fact. They are whimsical and apparently fanciful political gimmickry. Both views contradicted themselves in that they both acknowledge that the rules governing an award is not necessarily an award to the lowest priced bid, yet they queried the award to a bid that was not the lowest priced bid without any recourse to the detailed evaluation process. In accordance with the standard procedure, an award is made to the lowest priced RESPONSIVE bid. Responsiveness in this regard is subject to the stated criteria in the bidding document. Nothing else!!!

It is farfetched and indeed malicious for both views to cast aspersions on the integrity of the evaluation process or NPTAB when, clearly no evidence is forthcoming of any mis -procurement.

Subject to the award of any contract, and in accord with provisions in the Procurement Act, any bidder can appeal an award subject to it being done in the specified form and manner. NPTAB is not in receipt of any appeal to its award from any bidder. And were there to be an appeal, it will be dealt with in the prescribed manner consistent with the Law.